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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

On a Roll.

Feeling a bit rejuvenated, blog wise, I think now would be a good time to get something off my chest, namely the current state of the wargame magazine world. This view is naturally subjective, but I can easily argue that I am qualified to have an opinion, God knows I've bought plenty of the damn things over the years. In fact I have a bit of a dilemma,in that  something has to give magazine wise, before my roof joists do. I am going to have to either give away a lot of magazines, or cut them up and keep the best bits.
But I digress...........
 I have got the latest Wargames Illustrated, issue 305 and  I can usually judge if I have enjoyed it by the length of time, it takes me to read it. This copy took minutes.
 Now I know it is owned by Battlefront and will naturally feature their Flames of War ranges, I can live with that, I even have two of their armies.
 But somehow the magazine just seemed a bit too, well glossy.
  I know that doesn't explain what I am trying to say, but the range of articles with the wonderful terrain, figures, rule writers etc,etc seems just too slick somehow.
  Again this is my opinion, for what it is worth, but if a new enthused would be wargamer bought that magazine, what would he think? Would he be inspired, probably, would he want to take up wargaming, maybe, how would he be able to pursue this wish?
 There's the rub, nowhere in the magazine is there anything to point a newcomer in the direction that they require. Is there anywhere in the magazine that could help a newcomer to understand what wargaming is actually about. Well no, in fact what is on show is pretty unobtainable for a lot of wargames veterans.

 Going on from there, the magazine is so damn slick that there is no friction, ah that word again, but this time I mean, no letters, views, or articles that run counter to the image that Wargames Illustrated has created. Where is the debate, where the alternative view, where is the wargamer with their latest ideas to amend some rule or other.
 Wargames Illustrated gives us the perfect wargames world, great figures, great rules and lovely terrain, set in a perfect environment.
  Not every wargamer likes 28mm figures, not every gamer likes Flames of war, and not every wargamer can emulate the tables created by Ron Ringrose, God I wish we could.
 The magazine seems to provide a vehicle for a group of wargamers who are effectively professional, or the next best thing to it.
 Is that a bad thing?
Well its good that wargamers can portray a lovely table and figures, if the public actually attended a wargames show.
  Also such a table/game would hopefully inspire wargamers to try that little bit harder to emulate the game on show, but somehow I dont think that will happen.
   Who can afford painted buildings by The Grand Manner?  Who can afford beautifully painted mega sized units?
 Who can afford professionally built terrain?

 So whats my gripe then?  I think its basically, Yes its nice to see some ones lovingly created collection, as a feature each month, but for Gods sake, introduce some ordinary people into the equation, and let them show the wargaming world that there is an alternative view,away from the ideal of perfection. Otherwise our wargaming future will become as regimented as the Games Workshop world, God forbid.
 Here endeth the lesson..........................



14 comments:

  1. Um, yes! I think too that we have been conditioned over the last 20-40 years to avoid and shy away from controversy. Even in the fairly safe haven of hobbies. Just my tuppence.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Afternoon Stokes,
      Your absolutely right,heaven for-fend that we actually upset someone.We were taught a saying as children,''sticks and stones may break my bones, but calling will not hurt them''
      That changed in Britain, when suddenly the lunatics took over the asylum. I still shudder at the introduction of the
      ' Exclusionary bible' which was a dictionary of words that you were never allowed to say, ie, nitty gritty, black, gypsy etc,

      Delete
    2. Robbie- I'd heard of this extraordinary volume- from Rob Anderson and told him "Bollocks" Let some PC tosser (thats politically correct not Police Constable- though I suppose the book was to instruct PCPC's) stop me calling a Spade a Shovel....
      So this Shovel walks into a bar.....

      Delete
    3. Andy,
      Im afraid, you would be so out of step that you could never catch up. The thought police would have a field day with you.
      Robbie.

      Delete
    4. Andy,
      Im afraid, you would be so out of step that you could never catch up. The thought police would have a field day with you.
      Robbie.

      Delete
    5. Robbie- THE RESITANCE LIVES ON....

      Delete
  2. Aah yes the slick production of perfectly painted armies on a perfectly made board, beyond aspirations of most of us. When I used to play WRG games and Peter Gilder used to attend you could aim to paint your figures like him and get the mass effect, now unless your very talanted or willing to pay £9 a figure for painting then your not one of the new era gamers.
    Rick Priestly writes a good article on this in the new WSS, however in the real world the hobby seems to be strong with growing numbers of enthusiastic gamers who are happy to be shown the 'old ways'.
    Rant over thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robbie - agree with this- though possibly for some slightly differeing reasons- WSS still has opinions in it which is to the good and I'm coming around to that mag in a big way over the last 3 or 4 issues- even to spending money on an advert or two.
      WI is just far too bland its all the same its become a "One True way" magazine- do it otr way or you are untermenschen (yes I'm being a bit OTT here but you get my drift. )There is no one true way what they are seeking is commercial control for their clique. That is the be all and end all there is nothing else at work other than filthy lucre- which of course you can sall give to me in exchange for soldiers- and I won't tell you how to play with them once you've bought them either!!

      Delete
    2. Afternoon Gents,
      I must admit I have just got my WSS, and it is a good read.
      I like the way they review the latest rules etc, its got a good balance of articles in it.
      I know what you mean about untermenschen by the way, I would like to think wargaming is a very broad church, with lots of different views and ideas about how to game and collect.
      Perhaps we have been too idealistic in this cynical age.

      Delete
    3. Robbie- too idealistic me... Cynical me... Guilty on both apparently opposite counts still I'll stick to being "Resident Heretic" or "Rebel without a clue" as I feel the need.
      As Oscar had it
      "Be Famous or be infamous but never be dull."
      So much of the bland samey-gamey pap is just dull - been there done that- rubbish.

      Delete
  3. An interesting post which echoes many of my own views. I call the sort of thing you are discussing 'corporate wargaming', which kind of sums up the ethos of WI in my opinion. For all the breathless 'wow, look at this!' copy, I often find the whole thing very dreary. Give me 'Battlegames' any day - but it won't be around for much longer, apparently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Afternoon Keith,
      That was the word I was looking for, dreary. I never thought I would think it of a wargames magazine, but once you have admired the pictures, terrain,etc then what does the magazine offer,where's the meat. It can be likened to supermarket fruit, it looks perfect and tastes of bugger all. Give me weird looking fruit with real flavour. [sorry for the example but I think you will understand what I am trying to say.]
      Thanks Robbie.

      Delete
  4. There is/was a debate going on on another blog about the definition of 'old school', the consensus being that it wasn't hoards of gloss painted, individually based figures marching across a radioactive green board, but rather a frame of mind. From what I've seen and read it's also remarkably common and for each 'Battlefronter' there's at leas one 'OS' gamer willing to shout the odds. The difference is that the 'Corporate Wargamers' appear to have the floor. The easy way to upend this is to do what they do: bombard websites with alternative views (PMT might be worth reading then) and give 'Battlegames MkII' and WSS plenty of articles to publish. If they don't publish, then give'em the shits (oops, sorry!)by telling all and sundry about it, on your blogs, on sites like PMT etc.

    It's simply a case of playing them at their own game. There must be plenty of manufacturers and game designers and the like out there who probably wouldn't mind an alternative view because at the moment it's pretty much a case of "He who pays the piper . . ." There's far more to this hobby than Warlord Games and Battlefront. There, I've said it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Afternoon Joe,
      Its pretty clear that when Games Workshop off loaded a lot of their staff, these people were able to bring the GW ideas to mainstream wargaming. Now Im not saying that's a bad thing, because,if it means more people take up the hobby then great. However I worry that any newcomers will think that wargaming is just about what these people have to offer.Older wargamers know this is not the case, and there are a lot of people out there who can offer a lot of different ideas and probably just as good. Unfortunately money talks, and it seems that these people have quite a bit to spend and invest.
      But you are right, we have to stand up and be counted [ or read]
      Thanks Robbie.

      Delete

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

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My French getting another beating